AWEJ Volume.4 Number.3, 2013                                                                     Pp.89- 103

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Evaluative Clues in Academic English 

Amelia Maria Cava
Faculty of MedicineUniversità di Napoli ‘Federico II’


The centrality of evaluation has been investigated mainly in genre studies, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and text linguistics as, for example, in: Aijmer (2005), Mauranen (2004), Stubbs (2001), and Swales (2004). The present study focuses on evaluation, in particular Research-Oriented Evaluation as defined by Thetela (1997). The methodology is primary a corpus-based approach. Data for the present investigation are drawn from a corpus of 1,035 research article abstracts (about 200,000 words) from two disciplines in two scientific international journals: The International Journal of Primatology (hereafter IJP) and Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (hereafter MCS).The present paper has attempted  through a collocational analysis to investigate the linguistic resourcesof a precise type of evaluation which occurs with specific words, defined in this study as ‘research process words’. Results of the present analysis support the hypothesis that evaluation is genre specific and embodies interactions between writers and readers, regardless of the discipline. Precise lexical choices and words appear to be more frequent than others. However, textual analysis and identification of evaluation pose serious problems to the methodological approach, especially with the application of computer-assisted analytic techniques in academic arguments.

Keywords: Corpus-based studies, Text analysis, Corpus Assisted discourse studies, Evaluation, Genre analysis.


Amelia Maria Cava is currently Adjunct Professor in English language and Linguistics at the
Università di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Faculty of Medicine. She holds a Ph.D. in English for
Specific Purposes from the Università di Napoli ‘Federico II’ (Naples, Italy) and an MA in
Corpus Linguistics from the University of Liverpool (UK). She has extensive experience in
teaching English as a second language. Furthermore, her research interests focus on Genre
Analysis, Corpus Linguistics, and Academic English.